Brown Rice Bibimbap Bowls with Smoky Peppers
A modern twist on a traditional Korean classic, this bibimbap recipe made with brown rice and smoky peppers is a labour of love that results in a mouth-watering vegetarian dish, great for lunch or dinner.
An exercise in organisation if ever there was one, this Korean-inspired dish isn’t hard to make, but it does involve spinning a few plates. Drop one or more of the vegetable elements to make it easier, or get a friend to help you, dividing the cooking between you. Gochujang is a fiery Korean chilli paste. Find it online or in East Asian shops or, in a pinch, substitute Thai-style Roasted Chilli Paste (The New Vegetarian, page 321).
|For the bibimbap:|
|200g||brown short-grain rice|
|4||red peppers, halved|
|Toasted sesame oil|
|Toasted sesame seeds|
|Tamari or light soy sauce|
|3 tbsp||gochujang paste|
|2 tbsp||unrefined brown sugar|
|1||garlic clove, crushed|
|1 tbsp||rice wine vinegar|
|1||carrot, sliced into matchsticks|
|100g||shiitake mushrooms, sliced|
|Thumb of root ginger, peeled and finely chopped|
|2 handfuls||kale, shredded|
|4||very fresh eggs|
|Pickled ginger, finely sliced|
|Spring onions, rehydrated seaweed or nori strips|
Start by rinsing the rice in a bowl of water held under the cool tap, swishing the grains and draining, then refilling, until the water runs clear.
Drain the rice well and tip into a saucepan. Cover with 450ml of water and add a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 25 minutes, until the water has evaporated and the rice is tender.
Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7. Arrange the pepper halves on a baking tray, skin sides up. Drizzle with a little groundnut oil and roast for 25–30 minutes, until soft and blackened. Tip into a bowl and cover with a plate. Leave for 10 minutes, then peel and roughly shred. Season the pepper ribbons with sesame oil, sesame seeds and tamari.
Meanwhile, make the bibimbap sauce by combining in a small bowl the gochujang, sugar, garlic and vinegar with 2 tbsp each of water, sesame oil and sesame seeds. Season with salt and set aside.
To cook the carrot, heat a whisper of groundnut oil in a wok. Add the carrot and stir-fry for 1–2 minutes until just tender. Season with salt and set aside. Wipe the wok clean before returning it to the heat. Cook the mushrooms in a little oil in the same way, keeping the heat high and the pan moving until the mushrooms are cooked. Season with tamari.
Again, wipe out the wok. Add a little more oil followed by the ginger and the kale and a splash of water, stir-frying for a few minutes until wilted.
Toss with a drizzle of sesame oil, 1 tsp of sesame seeds and salt to taste.
Blanch the beansprouts in boiling salted water for a few seconds, until just wilted. Scoop out with a slotted spoon, refresh under cool water and drain well. To fry the eggs, pour a thin film of groundnut oil into a wok or frying pan set over a medium heat. Crack the eggs in separately and fry gently, flicking a little oil over the tops, until they are golden and lacy underneath and the whites have set.
To serve, divide the warm rice between generous warmed serving bowls. Spoon each distinct element on top in a roughly circular pattern: peppers, carrots, mushrooms, greens and beansprouts. Lay the fried egg on top and add pickled ginger, sliced spring onions, seaweed, toasted sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds to taste. Add a generous spoonful of the bibimbap sauce, putting the rest on the table to spoon over as you mix everything together and eat.